Just in time to kick off summer, we found an excellent rosé for a song: an $8 wine at Metropolitan Market. There aren’t many decent — let alone good — rosés made in Washington state at this price point.
Last month, Bargreen and I sampled this rosé along with the rest of the Metropolitan Market’s private-label wines. With one exception, we found them all to be good deals ($8 for the rosé and white, $10 for the red and $29.99 for its Champagne).
A Met Market manager said its private-label wines are priced up to $10 cheaper than they should have been. But don’t bother asking where their domestic wines are sourced — he’s not spilling any secrets. He could tell us, but he said he would have to kill us.
How could we not dig deeper after that tease?
Bargreen had a few ideas. The certified Level Two sommelier from Seattle, who writes the Washington Wine blog, believes their rosé, white and red wines were made by Barnard Griffin Winery in Richland because the trademark listed on those bottles is registered under that Tri-Cities winery’s name.
Barnard Griffin did not respond to our queries, and a spokesperson from Met Market said he will not confirm or deny which winery made its domestic private-label wines.
The last time we sampled through a chain’s wines (Target), we were disheartened over how disappointing those $10 wines were. One reader challenged me to find good $10 wines that are as widely available as Target’s. Well, here you go.
Met Market’s private-label wines are available at their six locations in Seattle and on the Eastside.
We thought the rosé and white both delivered beyond their $8 price tags. (And if you buy a case of either, the price drops closer to $7 after the discount.)
Met Market wine buyer Mark Takagi is one of the best in the industry. He has an eye, or should I say palate, for these things.
Our comments are below. Wines were rated: “not recommended,” “recommended buy” or “highly recommended.”
2018 Metropolitan Market ‘Rosé Release No. 12,’ Columbia Valley, $8
“The palate is fresh with lighter red fruits and a touch of wet stone with lemon zest,” said Bargreen. “It is generally hard to find a rosé wine from Washington of this quality at this price point.”
I thought this was the best bargain of the lot, a raspberry bomb, juicy but not cloyingly sweet like many cheap American rosés. It’s crisp with a dry finish, but still an easy-drinking, summer sipper. It’s better than many $12-$14 rosés made in the Northwest.
In our tasting, this was also the only wine that prompted a long debate.
Bargreen gave this a “recommended buy” but not higher because, he said, there are so many outstanding rosés in the market today that he would gladly pay more for a great one.
I rated this a “highly recommended buy.” There may be better European rosés at this price, but they usually sell out before we even get to the Fourth of July. This is a great bargain for large backyard gatherings.
Verdict: one vote for “recommended buy,” and one for “highly recommended”
2017 Metropolitan Market ‘White Table Wine Release No. 22,’ $8
Bargreen thought this mystery blend of white varietals appears to hold “a high proportion of chardonnay, a lot of oak and baked fruit,” so he suggested we sample it in a large-mouthed rim such as a Burgundy glass. That made a huge difference. I picked up lots of ripe fruits, especially apples and pears and some mineral notes.
Verdict: recommended buy
‘Metropolitain Premier Cru’ Champagne, $29.99
This is a chardonnay-based wine made by E. Gabriel & Fils in France and sold under the Met Market label. It’s easily one of the best Champagnes I’ve had in the $30-$40 range.
Bargreen was also a fan: “The bouquet is nicely musty with sourdough bread that connects with bright lemon curd and shades of wild mushroom that follow on the nose. The palate has good brightness with lemon oil, grapefruit blossom and peat moss tones.”
We both preferred this slightly over Costco’s Kirkland Signature Brut Champagne, another favorite among bargain hunters. (That said, we both agree the Costco Champagne at $19.99 remains the indisputable best buy. You can’t get Champagne cheaper than that.)
Verdict: recommended buy
2016 Metropolitan Market ‘Red Table Wine Release No. 34,’ $10
Neither of us enjoyed this. I tasted a lot of overripe fruits in the glass. Bargreen thought it “smells like a Bordeaux varietal although the nose comes off quite muted even after some extended air time.” He added, “This tastes a bit manipulated as if they might have added too much sugar.”
Fortunately, you can find many decent table reds at this price point, especially Old World vinos. But if you want to stick with the home state, Bargreen recommends Columbia Crest’s H3 Cabernet Sauvignon or its Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, both for around $10. But Bargreen suggests splurging a few bucks more for the Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Wine Blend if you want a screaming-great deal for under $20.
Verdict: not recommended